Monday, March 1, 2010

Kitchen Disasters

Okay, the "indoor electric turkey fryer" may not have been my best buy.

I love to cook, to chop, dice, simmer, stew and all that fussy stuff, but I also love small appliances and the convenience and versatility they add to cooking. So when a local store put the formerly $130 indoor electric turkey fryer on sale for under $35, I caved. Lugged the thing home, filled it with $20 of peanut oil and proceeded to fry chicken for the family. Except fry isn’t quite accurate—how about petrify?

The coating was ugly—dark, crusty and nothing like the heavenly stuff the Colonel turns out daily in his restaurants. Once we tore off the skin and coating, the meat was tasty, but the experiment was not a huge success. And the house smelled like a fast food joint, not the “grandma’s cooking” ambiance I was going for. One wonderful thing happened, though—my husband, Mr. “She Cooks and I Eat,” helped me with the frying. Yes, his willingness to help cook was fueled by the fear that I would burn down the house, but still, we cooked together. In 37 years of marriage, that may be a first.

But back to the fryer. I don’t give up easily. I remain hopeful that a turkey—no batter coating, just a bird, maybe some injected flavor—will showcase the fryer’s true greatness. And next time, despite its being called an indoor fryer, I’m cooking outside. It’s harder to stink up a whole neighborhood. Although I’ve had neighbors who tried.

What about you? Are you a small-appliance junkie? Are your cabinets filled with bread makers, food processors, hand-held blenders? Which do you like best? Least? Are there any appliance “turkeys” in your house?


  1. I'm more of a takeout menu junkie these days, though I do have a hand-held blender that comes in handy for the occasional smoothie. Good luck with your next bird!

  2. A special Lenten diet plan has had us cooking for 2 weeks now! We'll see if it lasts post-Easter. :) No frying, though. That's not allowed. You could call it the no fun food diet!


  3. Another great informative blog. I love reading your work and I know a novel will be an accomplishment for you one day.....

  4. Hi Valerie,
    I am now an official follower, so this is a test message.

  5. About the small appliances - yes, I have several that are mouldering away in my pantry from lack of use. I have a one-quart slow cooker (a crockette)that I have never used because I haven't found any good recipes that would fit in it. I have a juicer that I used to use. I have a coffee maker that I need to give away, a wok that seems to boil the food instead of stirfry it, and two stovetop grills that warn not to use them inside.
    My latest purchase of suka (Small Useless Kitchen Appliances) is a combination chopper and grinder. I bought it to make hummus. Yes, it does hold a can of chickpeas, some lemon juice, garlic, and tahini sauce, but there is a problem. When I push the button, the little machine vibrates furiously and begins to leap about on the counter like a whirling dervish, all the while emitting a high-pitched whine that would get on the nerves of a dead person.
    I did see a nifty little food processer advertised in a catalog the other day, though....

  6. I've learned that one of the questions I ask myself when I'm purchasing such is, just where are you going to store the thing? Sometimes storing something is worse than the cost or certainly the convenience. I prefer to have things that serve several functions, such as a knife instead of a bread slicer ot bagel slicer. I will say that my small chopper that grates carrots (and other things) certainly has saved many a nail and even finger over the old fashion grater. I remember that my mother kept her nails short by grating things that way! Wonder how many pieces of nails I age in her spaghetti sauce!
    Delia Halverson

  7. Valerie, I think you know I'm not the cook in our house, that's my wonderful husband. I can cook, but I don't enjoy it. I heat things up. I did buy a cookie baker once. It was like a waffle iron with little depressions for the cookies. I got it because my children wanted to try it. I tried to give it to one of them a few years ago, and she just laughed. So, no, gadgets are not my thing, but I'm blessed with a hubby and a mother who love them. Ask me to show you the personal air purifier Mom gave me to wear around my neck. Very chic!